Returning to Canela after its relaunch last May meant I had high expectations, still cherishing the bachalau and the mini burgers with quail's egg canapés. This evening, they were hosting a wine tasting, where we got to meet the producers from two distinct regions, Dao and Alentejo, tasting seven different wines. In Portugal, wine is produced by quintas (wine estates), and by small producers, making it an artisan product, made with love. Vintages are usually quite young and most wines are made using a blend of three grape varieties or castas.
The first wine was a light white introduced by Carlos from Casa Darei, a family vineyard run by his father and himself. The soil in the Dao region is granitic, with some areas being left fallow periodically, leaving the complexity of the soil to be savoured in each sip.
The red he served us was full-bodied with essence of violets, similar to a Pinot Noir.
Following these two, we were served caldo verde, the soup made with potato and chourico (and a string of Portuguese cabbage) which is typical of the Dao region. Just what was needed.
The second producer we met was from the Alentejo region was less artisan and more commercial but Pousio wine is still produced on a relatively small scale. The wine was fresh and young, fruity with tones of citric. The first white, simply named V, had been in the bottle for three weeks. Three varieties of P (Pousio) were then served - the white, perfect with our next canapé, bachalhau; the rose a little sweet and dry for me (it's colour produced from the skin of the white grapes); and a wonderful red reserva from 2012, reminiscent of Syrah (or Shiraz to us plebs).
The final wine of the evening, a very merry one at this stage, was O, a one year old red named Quattro Caminhos, a blend of four castas, and easily the best of the evening. It has been voted top wine of the Alentejo region. To finish our evening off in style, we ordered another glass of the red from Casa de Darei, and indulged in a Misto board - a selection of cheese and charcuterie. A fine end to an informative evening in a charming, rustic yet contemporary setting.
Canela will be hosting wine tastings monthly, and all Portuguese wine on offer is available to take home. Their regional classics, and specialty petiscos, as well as the exclusive wine list, are personally sourced and bring an authentic yet contemporary Portuguese experience to Central London. I booked my wine tasting through Edible Experiences.